FERNDALE (WXYZ) — The owner of Bobcat Bonnie's on 9 Mile in Ferndale is leading the charge, asking the city to close a portion of 9 Mile so that the dozen or so restaurants can use the street for additional outdoor seating.
One of his five restaurant locations is in Ypsilanti, which recently did just that and he says sales doubled the first week Ypsilanti closed its street to traffic and opened them to dining. Sales still aren't back to normal but they are making paying the bills more possible.
That's the big concern. As loans and grants quickly run out, many restaurants still can't pay their bills operating at 50 percent capacity. Providing more opportunity to seat people outside could make all the difference for restaurants and bars struggling to survive.
The Downtown Development Association in Ferndale says there is concern about alternate routes and neighborhood impact if 9 Mile were to be closed. Troy street running parallel, is currently closed as a new parking structure is under construction.
Some residents point out that during most summers 9 Mile is often closed due to festivals, so dealing with the closure wouldn't be new.
MoGo Bikes have been added to Ferndale, Oak Park and Royal Oak, which means there are alternate ways to get around.
The topic is expected to be discussed at the next city council meeting on June 13.
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